At the Height of the L.A. Riots, NBC News Cut Away for 'The Cosby Show'

By Conor Friedersdorf

The writer Hua Hsu, no stranger to readers of The Atlantic, has unearthed an incredible YouTube clip that NBC's Los Angeles affiliate broadcast at the height of the 1992 riots. Parts of the city were in flames. Millions of people were living under curfew. More than a dozen citizens were dead. Unlike broadcasters at other stations, the local NBC news team had to deal with the fact that The Cosby Show, the most popular sitcom of its era, was scheduled to air its final episode that night. Would the local affiliate keep broadcasting breaking news from the riots roiling the city, depriving residents of The Cosby Show? Or would it show the finale, depriving them of breaking news?

Here's how they handled the dilemma:

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